A robotic system includes a robot having joints, actuators, and sensors, and a distributed controller. The controller includes command-level controller, embedded joint-level controllers each controlling a respective joint, and a joint coordination-level controller coordinating motion of the joints. A central data library (CDL) centralizes all control and feedback data, and a user interface displays a status of each joint, actuator, and sensor using the CDL. A parameterized action sequence has a hierarchy of linked events, and allows the control data to be modified in real time. A method of controlling the robot includes transmitting control data through the various levels of the controller, routing all control and feedback data to the CDL, and displaying status and operation of the robot using the CDL. The parameterized action sequences are generated for execution by the robot, and a hierarchy of linked events is created within the sequence.